Deepsea Bollsta rig, formerly known as West Bollsta; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Shell makes another deepwater oil discovery offshore Namibia

UK-headquartered energy giant Shell has made a new oil discovery in an exploration well offshore Namibia with Northern Ocean’s Deepsea Bollsta semi-submersible drilling rig. This is the third oil discovery in Namibia since February 2022.

The light oil discovery was made in the Jonker-1X deepwater exploration well in the PEL-39 exploration license, which is located 270 km offshore Namibia. The drilling operations started in December 2022 and were safely concluded in recent days, according to QatarEnergy, which is one of Shell’s partners in this licence.

Deepsea Bollsta rig, formerly known as West Bollsta; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The PEL-39 exploration license is held by a consortium comprised of Shell (operator with a 45 per cent interest), QatarEnergy (45 per cent working interest), and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) (10 per cent working interest).

Commenting on this announcement, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, President and CEO of QatarEnergy, remarked: “We are pleased with this encouraging discovery, which is our third in Namibia. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our partners Shell and NAMCOR, and to congratulate and thank the government of the Republic of Namibia, which has been very supportive of this exploration effort.”

QatarEnergy explained that the Jonker-1X well was drilled to a total depth of 6,168 metres in a water depth of 2,210 metres. Qatar’s energy giant highlights that the acquired data is being evaluated while a further appraisal is planned to determine the size and recoverable potential of the discovery.

Source: QatarEnergy
Source: QatarEnergy

As a reminder, Shell hired the Deepsea Bollsta semi-submersible rig in August 2022 and Odfjell Drilling, as the operations manager, moved to reactivate the rig for the beginning of operations in 4Q 2022 while Northern Ocean carried out a private placement to raise gross proceeds of about $40 million to fund the reactivation. Offshore Energy reported in November 2022 that the rig was on its way to Namibia to embark on the drilling assignment with the oil major.

The 2020-built Deepsea Bollsta sixth-generation semi-submersible rig is of Moss CS60E design and can accommodate 140 people. The rig can carry out operations in both benign and harsh environments at water depths of up to 3,000 metres.

This discovery follows two similar announcements by QatarEnergy in February 2022 of oil discoveries in the Graff-1 well and in the Venus-1X prospect, both located in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia. In addition to the PEL-39 exploration license, QatarEnergy also holds interests in PEL-56 (30 per cent) and PEL-91 (28.33 per cent) offshore Namibia, covering a total area of 28,327 km2.

Furthermore, Shell already made an oil discovery on its acreage in the Orange Basin in Namibia, following the drilling of the Graff-1 deepwater well in Block 2913A. The well was drilled using the Valaris DS-10 drillship and announced as a discovery in February 2022. In the months following the discovery, the focus was on performing extensive laboratory analyses to gain a better understanding of the reservoir quality and potential flow rates achievable.

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On the other hand, the ultra-deepwater Venus-1X exploration well was spud at the beginning of December 2021, using the Maersk Voyager drillship. The Venus discovery was made by TotalEnergies. This is a light oil and associated gas field, located in the Orange Basin, approximately 290 kilometres off the coast of southern Namibia, and in a water depth of approximately 3,000 metres.